In the second season of Stranger Things, we’re introduced to the incorporeal evil known as the Mind Flayer, or the shadow monster, a sort of vast parasitic organism that lurks in the Upside Down.

It’s shown to have complete control over a horde of immature Demogorgons, the so-called Demo-dogs. However, the Demogorgon from the first season seemed to be employing a very different strategy from the Demo-dogs, targeting random people in a very predatorial way, unlike the organized tactics of the Mind Flayer. It also appeared alone, unlike the whole horde of Demo-dogs. Finally, the Mind Flayer didn’t seem to be present in the Upside Down when the first Demogorgon appeared.

Further, “Dart,” the “friendly” Demo-dog, seemed to show affection for Dustin, and other behavior not clearly in line with the Mind Flayer’s aims.

Does the Mind Flayer control all Demogorgons, including the fully mature one from the first season and “Dart”? Or does it simply have a large group of Demogorgons that it has taken control of, as it took control of Will?

  • Just because a demigorgon CAN be controlled at any time doesn't mean it IS. My impression from Season 1 is that the Mind Flayer had Will kidnapped, and was focused on transforming him into a vessel while the Demigorgon found itself free to do what it liked.
    – Broklynite
    Oct 30, 2017 at 12:22

4 Answers 4


The kids explain that the Mindflayer is like the head of a hive-mind, which can control anything within its collective.

However, seeing as it manages to seize control of Will's consciousness, clearly it doesn't matter if an organism is born into the collective consciousness, they can be taken control of at any point. So I think that the Mindflayer could have controlled the Demogorgon from season 1, it just wasn't around at that time.

The Mindflayer tends to have a lot of control over its subjects, as seen in the case of Will, however even though he is under the control of the Mindflayer, he still retains some of his humanity.

So it's reasonable to assume that any subject within the hive-mind retains some of its autonomy, which is why Will could send the secret message and why Dart didn't attack Dustin right away.

  • So you don’t think that Demogorgons are created by the Mind Flayer specifically under its control, then?
    – Adamant
    Oct 30, 2017 at 10:04
  • An alternative explanation for why Dart didn't attack Dustin is that Dustin is now also a host (after whatever that was that sprayed his mouth in the tunnels), and either Dart or the Mind Flayer recognised this. That could also explain why the stampede of demodogs ignored Hopper and Dustin in the tunnel (I know they were being summoned to defend against Eleven, but I'm sure one demodog taking an extra 30 seconds to tear out a couple of throats wouldn't have made a huge difference either way).
    – delinear
    Nov 1, 2017 at 12:27
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    @delinear - Although it was only speculation that closing the gate to the Upside Down would kill any of the Mind Flayer’s victims, I think the deaths of the numerous Demo-dogs bear that out. Now, it could be that if someone’s mind hadn’t been taken over entirely by the Mind Flayer, they would have survived (the Demo-dogs could be argued to do nothing that the Mind Flayer doesn’t want), which could mean that Dart is alive (he twitched). But I think it more likely that the damage from being cut off from the hive mind would have killed any Mind Flayer host, and thus Dustin can’t be infected.
    – Adamant
    Nov 3, 2017 at 20:30
  • In any case, I’m fairly certain that closing the gate would have rendered any Mind Flayer remnants quite dead, regardless of whether they were in a person or not.
    – Adamant
    Nov 3, 2017 at 20:31

I believe that the mind flayer was not present in season one because only after the first season did it take over the upside down.

  • 1
    Welcome to the site! Do you have any evidence of this? Or is it just headcanon?
    – amflare
    Nov 3, 2017 at 20:17
  • 1
    It could be. On the other hand, the Upside-Down is likely quite big, so the Mind Flayer could simply have been physically distant, and perhaps uninterested. Conversely, the Mind Flayer could have been controlling the Season 1 Demogorgon for whatever aims.
    – Adamant
    Nov 3, 2017 at 20:33

I believe that the reason of why The Mind Flayer wasn't in season 1 is because there was no storm. The Mind Flayer is like a Tornado and also a shadow, so that would mean if light/the storm comes to the Mind Flayer/Tornado or Shadow it will rise.

  • 1
    How does this answer the question of whether or not the Mind Flayer controls all Demogorgons?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Nov 4, 2017 at 9:42

I have a theory, 2 variables. Bare with me...

When will was rescued in season 1, we saw a few bodies in the Upside down. Barb's had a "slug" crawl out of it. These slugs mature into Demodogs.

??: Will throws up a slug. That slug lies essentially dormant, being foreign to this world. Later, this slug is found and named Dart. Upon being provided with food (go figure candy) it grows.

Meanwhile, back in the Upside Down, the slugs implanted into the numerous bodies the Demogorgon bought to the Upsidedown, grow into the other Demodogs we see attack the lab.

Being as Dart was possibly alive and raised outside the Upside Down for possibly up to a year, perhaps he was not aiding the other Demodogs because the Mind Frayer didn't send him over with the other Demodogs.

Long story short, the Mind Frayer sends an army of Demodogs. Dart found his way here over a year ago, growing outside the Frayers sight and influence.

If the Demogorgon was raised from birth it easily could have resulted in similar behavior. many captive raised animals are grown with humans, recognizing them as ???, But also being aware of what they actually are. This could be why Dart was in the tunnels: not knowing where Dustin was, possibly smelling or hearing (telepathic too) his own species.

Now: could/would they molt at some point into a Demogorgon? Being the final product it could take the most time for such. I personally believe the Demogorgon was reproducing with the bodies it was stealing (e. Barb, countless soldiers?)

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